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Botts' first career homer helps Rangers nip A's in Arlington

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Those rookies and former roommates at
the bottom of the lineup for the Texas Rangers were pretty good.

Jason Botts hit his first career homer and second baseman Ian
Kinsler drove in a run with a broken-bat grounder that pushed the
Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday
night.

"That was one of the best parts of the home run. It gave us the
lead and I was able to contribute in a big game," said Botts, who
hit eighth ahead of Kinsler. "It's a great feeling. It seems like
I'm floating right now."

The Rangers led 3-1 after Botts, the designated hitter in his
13th major league game, hit a 399-foot homer to right-center field
with two outs in the second. After Oakland tied the game, Kinsler
drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth.

Texas had the bases loaded in the sixth when Kinsler shattered
his bat on a grounder that went only about a third of the way up
the first-base line. Dan Johnson fielded the slow roller and all he
could do was tag Kinsler out while Brad Wilkerson scored the
go-ahead run.

"I got a lucky RBI. He threw a pretty good pitch. It almost got
me on the hand," Kinsler said.

"He broke his bat. He didn't really do anything with it,"
Oakland starter Kirk Saarloos said. "But he put it in the perfect
spot."

The Rangers won three of four in the weekend series to build a
three-game lead in the AL West over Oakland, their closest
competitor. The Athletics had four one-run losses during a 1-6 road
trip.

"It was a mentally draining trip," manager Ken Macha said.
"The positive part is we're playing real good baseball. They say
these things even out. We're due some breaks."

Botts, who has split time at DH with struggling Phil Nevin since
being recalled Tuesday, was 2-for-2, adding a double in the eighth
after he walked twice. Kinsler was 2-for-4, raising his average to
.429 (15-for-35) in his 12 major league games, the last four since
returning from the disabled list from a dislocated left thumb.

"I don't think either of us is ever intimidated," said
Kinsler, Botts' roommate the last three seasons in the minor
leagues before making his major league debut on the opening day
roster. "We talk about it all the time, being in the starting
lineup. To win tonight is pretty special."

Vicente Padilla (5-3) allowed three runs and five hits over six
innings. He struck out four and walked three, including two who led
off innings and then scored. The game was tied when the
right-hander threw his last pitch, but the Rangers led before Scott
Feldman relieved to start the seventh.

Akinori Otsuka, the fourth reliever, worked a perfect ninth
against Oakland's Nos. 1-3 hitters for his eighth save in nine
chances.

Saarloos (2-3) allowed only four hits over seven innings, but
was hurt by a career-high seven walks.

"I made a bad pitch to Botts. That one hurt us big time,"
Saarloos said. "A backdoor cutter that was out over the plate. I
knew it was gone."

Wilkerson walked and scored twice for the Rangers, on Botts'
homer in the second and on Kinsler's grounder.

After a fly ball to start the sixth, Texas loaded the bases on
two walks and a single before Kinsler batted.

A 46th-round pick in 1999, Botts made his major league debut in
10 games last season. He had 10 homers in 40 games at Triple-A
Oklahoma this season, and led all Rangers minor leaguers with 25
homers and 102 RBI last season.

Johnson was 0-for-4, but had RBI groundouts his first two
at-bats. The A's tied the game at 3 in the sixth when Jason Kendall
had a one-out double and scored on a single by Eric Chavez, getting
a game at DH while 38-year-old Frank Thomas got a night out of the
starting lineup.

Thomas pinch hit and drew a walk in the eighth off Francisco
Cordero, who had already allowed two singles. Adam Melhuse, another
pinch hitter, then lined out to end the inning.

Game notes
Rangers SS Michael Young went 0-for-3 with a walk,
extending his hitless streak to 14 at-bats -- his longest since
going 0-for-14 from September 7-11, 2002. That was also the last
time he was hitless in three straight games when he had an official
at-bat. ... Saarloos is 0-3 with a 7.59 ERA (18 earned runs over 21
1-3 innings) in eight road games, three starts. ... Nevin has two
hits in his last 25 at-bats, both home runs. ... Johnson is hitting
.183 (11-for-60) over the past 18 games -- and .186 for the season.